Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Getting Over the Guilt

The other day, as I dropped off my three-year-old, Connor, at daycare, his best buddy, Dean, came in with his mommy. Dean was having a hard morning and didn’t want his mommy to leave. As he was crying, Connor walked over and said, “It’s okay, Dean, my mommy works, too.”

My chest swelled up. My first thought was, “I have the most precious boy; he is such a sweet friend,” Then that all-too-familiar guilt started to creep in. He wouldn’t have to say that if I were a stay at home mom.

But I’m not. I’m a working mom. And it has been a struggle to get to the point where I am proud of that title. Not only am I proud of it, I own it, because I am so over the guilt. The working mom vs. stay at home mom guilt has eaten up way too much of my mind these past three years. So, instead of letting the internal battle continue, I’ve decided to embrace the finality of my decision in this area and get on with my life, without regret.

I’m a working mom. I used to hide behind it when people asked if I worked, and I would tell them, “I barely work full time” or “Well, yes...but I’m in education, so I get off three months a year.” Eventually, I just stopped making excuses and started claiming my decision.

And that release of guilt felt so good. I just don’t have the mental energy any longer to care if I’m a working mom and you choose to be a stay at home mom. You do you, and I’ll do me.

But I haven’t always felt this way. Thinking back, I wanted to be a stay at home mom because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. Yet, I was never certain that staying home was the right choice for me. While I’d love to wear workout attire all day, I couldn’t completely see myself in the role of a stay at home mom where I bragged to my social media friends when I {finally} got to take a shower and put makeup on. I also knew that I needed more adult conversation in my day than being a stay at home mom could give me. By choosing to stay home, I wouldn’t be using that college education my mom paid for. And if I wasn’t working, why did I even bother going to college? What a waste.

But I still badgered my husband about it on occasion, and went as far as to make a spreadsheet of our finances telling him that if we gave up this and that, we could make it work. I could stay home. He was never convinced and, on a deeper level, I think he knew I wouldn’t be happy staying home.

Yet, I continued to wrestle with the guilt. I loved my job, but shouldn’t I want to stay home and change every diaper, wipe every snotty nose and kiss every boo-boo? After all, “these are the only years they are home all day every day” people told me, oftentimes while passing judgment. Wasn’t I failing majorly as a mom because I didn’t stay home with them?


No, I am not failing at all because I work. In fact, I think I’m a better mom because I work. I am much more intentional about my time with my kids. I get my errands done during my lunch break and immediately after work so that my evenings and weekends are completely devoted to them. I wait to do “me” things until after bedtime or during naps.

It helps that I happen to love the preschool my kids are at {and not only because it’s on-site}. I think they are so prepared for elementary. I can’t wait until Connor takes his Pre-Kindergarten admissions exam next year and absolutely aces it because he has been in a preschool his whole life. I can imagine the pride I will feel because I know I did the right thing for him by getting him a headstart on his education. If he were at home with me the majority of the time, I don’t think he’d be nearly as smart {although I’d give it my best effort, I’m sure!} because I’d be loading him up and running him all over Houston for playdates and Target trips. And is that really the best thing for him?

Listen, I’m all about my kids, my family, my friends, my church - and my JOB. I wholeheartedly believe in the words “to each her own.” I think that some people stay home simply because they cannot afford daycare, others drop out of the workforce for a few years to raise their kids, some work part-time, others work full-time, and some women become moms and quit working altogether.

At the end of the day, we are all moms, and how about we leave it at that?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fall Favorites

One of my favorite things about fall - besides the pumpkin patch at my church - is that we infuse pumpkin into every area of our lives. Candles, home decor, drinks and food. Because, why not overload ourselves with the spice of fall?

I love pumpkin bread, so tonight I tried my hand at a pumpkin bundt cake with homemade icing. It was yummy and looked pretty, too! Added bonus: it's on Parker's diet, so it's a food he isn't allergic too (the list is short, people).

This candy is my everything in the fall. I cannot get enough. And with only 70 calories a pop, they're easy on the diet, too. If you've never had one, do yourself a favor and get your hands on one immediately. It has a great caramel flavor, then tastes like a green jolly rancher. You can thank me later.

The sweet pumpkin Burt's Bees candle (bottom left) is my kind of candle. It's not too overwhelming, but gives my house a seasonal smell. And it costs less than $5. #winning

Even though the calendar says it's fall, I won't buy into it completely until I can wear my leggings and boots again. Because that's when it's really fall, y'all.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Nobody's Cuter Than You (Review! Review!)

I so loved Melanie Shankle's latest book Nobody's Cuter Than You. It made me reflect back on the friendships I've had over the years, and it made me ever so thankful for the girlfriends I have in my life today. And because of Melanie and Gulley, it seriously made me want to grab my friend Jenna, load up on Sonic Vanilla Diet Cokes and take a road trip! Because a road trip is always a good idea.

A couple of parts really stood out to me in this book. During one section she talks about when her friend Jenn lost her dad. Melanie and her roommates piled in the car and headed to the funeral. Melanie says, "And that's when I learned one of the most important lessons I've ever learned about what it means to be a good friend: you show up for your people." AMEN. I can still recall the girlfriends who showed up for me when I lost my grandparents...and it has been over 10 years. I couldn't agree show up for your people. Your presence is the greatest gift and speaks volumes when you are at a loss for words.

I also resonated with her explanation of why we need girlfriends. She's talking about how a relationship with your significant other is great and can complete us, blah, blah, blah. And then she hits the nail on the head and writes, "I mean, we need Jesus to truly complete us, but we absolutely need our girl friends, because no man wants to listen to all the words we have to say in the course of a day." And again I say...AMEN.

Love this girl. She's witty and her books are easy to read. I felt like I was listening to a long-time friend when I read this book. Great summer read, and a sweet reminder about the holy gift of friendship.

PS: I'm linking up with Heather today with my book review. She does Friday book reviews and she has great taste in books!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Parker {9 months}

It's hard to believe that Parker is already 9 months old! It has been quite the year with him so far. He's a super fun baby right now. He is so busy and crawling all over the house, attempting to climb (no thank you) and getting into everything. Sounds like a typical second child, yes?

He is babbling, clapping and pulling up to standing. He loves to eat...especially mum-mum's and puffs. He's in size 4 diapers and size 18 month clothes. He weighed 26 pounds 6 ounces at his checkup and he's quite the load to tote around.

Parker adores his big brother, and it's sweet to see their interactions. Being their mom is truly the best. I am so lucky!

Those legs...

That face...

Love that sweet smile!

We love our Parker Man!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Happy Birthday, Hubby!

I started mentally planning Jeremy's 40th birthday several years back. He is the first of our friends to turn the big 4-0 and party planning is kind of my thing, so I was really excited for this shindig.

But as life happens -  babies, our jobs, moving, colic, babies, family events and babies - got in the way of me going all out for his 40th. And I think he was a bit relieved for this. I mean, who actually needs a video presentation, a band and surprises every 40 minutes at a party?

We decided to have his party at Cottonwood in Houston, and it was a great venue. We used their front area and it thankfully was not miserably hot.

Cottonwood Houston
My theme for the party was a caricature of him that I carried throughout on the balloons, napkins, menus and custom cookies. For party colors I used black (obviously) with beige. After all, I didn't want it to look like a funeral. I used his favorite font on the menu cards, balloons and napkins. Here are a few details from the party:

My mother-in-law helped me find these amazing cookies. They're from a company called Parker's Crazy Cookies and they do custom cookies of people. They taste like animal crackers. They were a hit!

Custom balloons with his caricature. 
Jeremy Ford - More fun than two 20 year olds. 

I strung pictures around the party with captions describing what he was doing, his age or his grade
year. Guests enjoyed seeing different stages of Jeremy's life (and some were in the pictures, too!).

Photo strand. I had 60 photos strung with mini clothespins along black and beige baker's twine.

At a point in the evening, Jeremy's brothers and I did a toast roast of him, which was pretty hilarious. Or, so I'm told. Jeremy had a great party and felt so loved by his family and friends. Mission accomplished!

Happy Birthday, Jeremy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Free Family Fun Day!

[disclaimer: this is a sponsored post]

In need of weekend plans with your littles? How about FREE weekend plans? If you live in the Richmond area, be sure to check out the Made in America event. Taylor Morrison is introducing its Made in America home to Houston with a free day of family fun featuring all things American, Saturday, July 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Families are invited to celebrate the beauty and craftsmanship of the Made in America home boasting All-American interior design with a day of revelry with two-stepping to country music, a full Texas BBQ with all the trimmings and apple pie, and fun for the kids, including a petting zoo, pony rides, a bouncy house, hoola hoops and red, white and blue pinwheels, plus an appearance by the local fire department with fire truck tours.  

It’s all happening on one exciting day, Saturday, July 11, at 19006 Grand Vista Springs Blvd, Richmond, Texas 77407.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Star Spangled Kids

I'm participating in a fun link up I saw on Kristy and Chelsea's blogs today!

I've always loved the 4th of July. It's a simple holiday that I don't feel has been over commercialized (yet) and we all get time off work to spend with our families. Growing up, the fourth of July was a time our family got together to grill burgers, swim and then we would grab our lawn chairs and head to watch the city fireworks show. With my own family, we haven't really started any traditions because the boys aren't old enough yet. However, I am particularly excited for the holiday this year because we are headed down to Tiki Island for the weekend for swimming, fireworks and relaxation. If all goes well, we are planning to keep Connor awake so he can see the fireworks, too - and hopefully not be scared of them!

Here are a few snapshots of what my boys will be wearing this Fourth of July!

Connor (2.5) is wearing an Old Navy tank top. He calls it his Kaka Shirt, affectionately named for his Uncle Kevin, who wears this style of tank top all summer long. And Connor is holding a basketball...of course! Every picture needs a prop.

Parker (7 months) thankfully sat still long enough for a picture. He is so busy moving around these days. He's wearing a smocked Jon Jon I ordered from Smocked Auctions. Connor also wore it on his first Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July from our family to yours!

Hope everyone has a safe and fun Fourth!